Q. Do I need to come in to the library to start/set up a book club for our group?
Perhaps the following tips will help:
How to Get a Book Group Started
The process can begin by simply asking
some people you know to help you organize
the first gathering. Address the following
questions early on to create a book group
that is well run, interesting, and rewarding.
What's the ideal size of the group?
If you need to recruit members, how will you
What requirements do you have
What types of books will you read?
Will you focus your reading to specific
topics or genres?
How will you choose which books to read?
How far ahead will you plan?
How will members obtain copies of books?
Where will you meet?
Will you meet in the same location each
time, or rotate your meeting locations?
How long will meetings last?
Will refreshments be provided? By whom?
What time will be designated specifically
How will each discussion be lead?
Will you designate a leader?
Who is responsible for providing author
information and giving an introduction to
the group's discussion?
What ground rules should be established?
Can members who haven't read the
Will guest speakers be invited?
Quick Tips for Book Discussion
Read the Book.
Write down important page numbers.
Have your questions ready.
Moderating a Meeting
Let Others Answer First
When you are asking questions, you want to
facilitate discussion, not come off as
By letting others in the book club answer
first, you will promote conversation and help
everyone feel like their opinions matter.
Sometimes people may need to think before
they answer. Part of being a good leader is
being comfortable with silence. Don't feel
like you have to jump in if no one answers
immediately. If needed, clarify, expand, or
rephrase the question.
Make Connections between Comments
If someone gives an answer to question 2
that connects well with question 5, don't feel
obligated to ask questions 3 and 4 before
moving to 5.
You are the leader and you can go in
whatever order you want. Even if you go in
order, try to find a link between an answer
and the next question.
By connecting people's comments to the
questions, you'll help build momentum in
Occasionally Direct Questions toward Quiet
You don't want to put anyone on the spot,
but you want everyone to know their
opinions are valued.
If you have a few talkative people who
always jump right in, directing a question to
a specific person may help draw out the
quieter people (and let the loud people
know it is time to give someone else a turn).
Rein in the Talkers
Book clubs are popular not only because
people like to read, but also because they
are great social outlets.
A little off topic conversation is fine, but you
also want to respect the fact that people
have read the book and expect to talk
As the facilitator, it is your job to recognize
tangents and bring the discussion back to
Don’t Feel You Have to Go Through All of
The best questions sometimes lead to
intense conversations. That's a good thing!
The questions are there as a guide.
While you will want to get through at least
three or four questions, it will probably be
rare that you finish all ten.
Respect people's time by wrapping up the
discussion when the meeting time is over
rather than pushing on until you finish
everything you planned.
From How to Lead a Book Club Discussion
by Erin Collazo Miller, About.com Guide
*If you want to order books from the library for your group, you would probably benefit from sitting down with your branch’s book group coordinator and working out the details of selecting titles, ordering, etc.